'Parks and Recreation' Season 5 Episode Guide

Episode guide to the 2012-13 season of 'Parks and Recreation' on NBC

Adam Scott and Amy Poehler in the episode 'Halloween Surprise' from 'Parks and Recreation' Season 5
Photo courtesy of NBC  

The fourth season of Parks and Recreation featured Leslie campaigning for and winning a seat on the city council, Tom launching and then tanking his own company, and Ben being recruited for a political job in Washington, D.C. In the fifth season, Leslie takes on her new job and gets married to Ben, Tom launches a new company, and Andy, April, and Chris all take on new challenges. Read on for the Parks and Recreation Season 5 episode guide.

Episode 1
“Ms. Knope Goes to Washington”
Original Airdate: September 20, 2012

Leslie and Andy travel to Washington, D.C., to visit with Ben and April, who are there working on a Congressional campaign. Leslie feels inadequate when she sees what Ben’s life is like and all the impressive women he meets (including senators Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe). With Leslie gone, Ron is in charge of the Parks Department’s annual employee appreciation barbecue. After Ron drains the barbecue of all the fun Leslie used to bring to it, Chris tells him that he needs to demonstrate more leadership. Although Ann and Tom have broken up, they pretend to be together so that Tom can win a bet with Donna.

Episode 2
“Soda Tax”
Original Airdate: September 27, 2012

Leslie proposes a tax on sugary sodas and then has a crisis about whether to vote for her own proposal since so many citizens are against it. In the end, Ron and Ann both help give her the confidence to vote for her bill, and it passes. Chris and Tom help Andy train for the physical part of his police academy entrance exam since he’s completely out of shape. In Washington, Ben has trouble getting the college interns in the office (as well as April) to respect him. Eventually, he sticks up for himself and tells April she needs to put actual effort into her job.

Episode 3
“How a Bill Becomes a Law”
Original Airdate: October 4, 2012

April and Ben decide to take a road trip to Pawnee to surprise Andy and Leslie, but they get stuck in traffic in Washington. Chris implements a 311 line for non-emergency calls, and Ron takes it upon himself to fix a pothole reported by a single mother (Lucy Lawless). Impressed with his efforts, she asks him on a date. Leslie desperately tries to put enough votes together to pass a bill she proposed about extending public pool hours. To do so, she gives up her office and her parking space to her obnoxious rival, Councilman Jamm (Jon Glaser of Delocated).

Episode 4
“Sex Education”
Original Airdate: October 18, 2012

As punishment for texting while driving, Tom has to go a week without using electronic devices. Ron takes Tom out to his cabin to help Tom get over his dependence on screens. Leslie launches an initiative to offer sex education to senior citizens, who have been contracting sexually transmitted diseases. She runs up against the city’s abstinence-only education laws, but defies them in order to do the right thing, and promises to fight to change the laws. Ben and April discover that their congressman boss is disturbingly robotic.

Episode 5
“Halloween Surprise”
Original Airdate: October 25, 2012

After his congressional campaign in Washington wraps up early, Ben is offered the opportunity to run a campaign for governor in Florida and is torn about whether to take the job or return to Pawnee. Before making his decision, he comes back to Pawnee and proposes to Leslie, who says yes. Jerry has a mild heart attack on Halloween, and Leslie arranges a benefit to help raise money for his medical care. Ron has trouble dealing with his girlfriend’s kids when he takes them trick or treating, but he decides to make an effort to get to know them.

Episode 6
“Ben’s Parents”
Original Airdate: November 8, 2012

Ben and Leslie throw an engagement party, and Ben is terrified of his divorced parents, who hate each other, being in the same room together. Leslie comes up with a plan to make sure they don’t fight, but she fails, and Ben’s parents nearly ruin the party. Ben and Leslie sit them down and demand that they stop fighting at least long enough to both attend Ben and Leslie’s wedding. Chris has an emotional breakdown over being alone, and Ann, April, and Andy try to cheer him up. Tom pitches his new business idea, Rent-a-Swag, to Ron.

Episode 7
“Leslie vs. April”
Original Airdate: November 15, 2012

April presents Leslie with a proposal to build a new dog park on Lot 48. Leslie feels that she should be the one to develop Lot 48 since she’s been working on it so long, and she attempts to sabotage April’s efforts. Both of them get screwed over by Councilman Jamm, and so they agree to team up to make the dog park a reality. Tom enlists Ben to consult on his new business, which shows Ben how many career opportunities are out there for him. He declines his new accounting job in favor of seeing what else is available. Chris offers Andy a job as the weekend security guard for City Hall.

Episode 8
“Pawnee Commons”
Original Airdate: November 29, 2012

Leslie issues a call for plans for the new park, and the best response comes from an architect in Eagleton. She can’t accept that an Eagletonian would be interested in helping Pawnee, but he turns out to be considerate and talented and presents a model for a lovely park. Tom enlists his co-workers to help set up the Rent-a-Swag store. Andy is bored in his new job as a security guard, but he and April help a lost kid, and he realizes he might be good at his job.

Episode 9
 “Ron and Diane”
Original Airdate: December 6, 2012

Ron is nominated for a woodworking award and brings Diane to the awards ceremony. Leslie is excited to meet Diane, but Diane tells Leslie that she feels threatened by how close Leslie and Ron are. Tammy (Megan Mullally) shows up to ruin Ron’s night, but Leslie fends her off, and Ron spends time with Diane, proving his friendship with Leslie is no threat. Ann shuts Tom, Donna, April, and Andy out of Jerry’s wonderful Christmas party (complete with his beautiful wife, played by Christie Brinkley) until they learn to be nice to Jerry. Ben is amazed at how Chris’ therapy has helped with his insecurities.

Episode 10
 “Two Parties”
Original Airdate: January 17, 2013

At Ben’s bachelor party, he decides he wants to play Settlers of Catan, which bores everyone else. Chris proposes that Tom, Andy, Ron, and Jerry all get the bachelor parties they never had. Although Leslie has two weeks left to submit her park proposal, Councilman Jamm breaks ground on his burger joint on the land. Leslie tries to thwart him by planting fake Wamapoke Native American artifacts on the site and then regrets it. When the artifacts are discovered, Leslie confesses to the Wamapoke chief, but he keeps her secret and helps force Jamm to honor their deal.

Episode 11
 “Women in Garbage”
Original Airdate: January 24, 2013

Leslie creates a commission to increase female employment in city government, and when the sanitation department scoffs, Leslie and April spend a day as garbage collectors to prove that women can do the job. When the sanitation workers trick them with an impossible task, they turn it around and end up convincing the department to hire female garbage collectors. Ron gets overwhelmed trying to babysit Diane’s daughters. Andy and Ben help Tom learn about basketball. Chris tries to figure out the nature of his budding relationship with reporter Shauna Malwae-Tweep.

Episode 12
 “Ann’s Decision”
Original Airdate: February 7, 2013

Ann decides that she wants to have a baby via a sperm donor, and Leslie tries to persuade her to wait for true love instead. Ann almost asks radio DJ the Douche to father her child, but Leslie convinces her to slow down and make a more careful decision. Ben, Ron, and Chris get food poisoning after testing caterers for Ben and Leslie’s wedding, and Ben decides to have JJ’s Diner cater the wedding instead. April attempts to emulate Leslie as she leads town meetings about the new park, Pawnee Commons.

Episode 13
 “Emergency Response”
Original Airdate: February 14, 2013

Leslie needs to raise $50,000 more for the Pawnee Commons project and has only a week to do it. She plans a fundraising gala, but Councilman Jamm attempts to thwart her by scheduling an all-day emergency preparedness drill for the day of the event. While Leslie attempts to finish the drill, Ben coordinates the gala, and it ends up being a complete success. Leslie is so happy with Ben that they decide to get married that night at the gala. Andy aces his written police exam but fails the personality evaluation.

Episode 14
 “Leslie and Ben”
Original Airdate: February 21, 2013

Leslie and Ben scramble to put together their wedding at the last minute, to take place immediately following the fundraising gala. Somehow everything comes together, but Councilman Jamm interrupts the ceremony before it begins, and Ron punches him in the face. Even though Ron has to spend a few hours in jail and the gala facilities get dismantled, the wedding still goes ahead, with Leslie’s friends putting together a ceremony in the office.

Episode 15
 “Correspondents’ Lunch”
Original Airdate: February 21, 2013

Leslie attends the annual luncheon where local politicians and journalists roast each other, and a reporter from the Pawnee Sun steals her jokes. Leslie discovers that the Sun had been hacking her emails, and she exposes them at a press conference. Ann awkwardly asks Chris to be the father of her child, and he doesn’t know what to say. Ben starts his new job at the head of the Sweetums Foundation and has to pick a charity to support. He hires Andy to be his new assistant after Andy shows a surprising acumen for charity work.

Episode 16
Original Airdate: March 14, 2013

When Leslie tries to help the struggling local video store by getting it designated as a historical landmark, Ron attempts to thwart her efforts, because he disapproves of government handouts. She succeeds in getting the designation, but the place turns into an adult video store in order to turn a profit. Tom hires Jean-Ralphio’s sister Mona Lisa (Jenny Slate) to work at Rent-a-Swag, and while she’s a terrible employee, he still ends up sleeping with her. Chris is worried he’s not ready to be a dad, but after giving Tom some fatherly advice, he agrees to donate his sperm to Ann.

Episode 17
Original Airdate: April 4, 2013

Councilman Jamm sues Ron for punching him in the face at Leslie and Ben’s wedding, and Ron decides to represent himself. He insists that Tom and April tell the truth about him at a deposition, which makes him look guilty. But April and Tom discover lies in Jamm’s testimony and get him to drop the suit. Leslie and Ben return to Ben’s hometown of Partridge, Minnesota, where Ben is set to receive the key to the city, but the whole thing is a setup to make fun of Ben. Ann and Chris are worried about their compatibility as parents.

Episode 18
 “Animal Control”
Original Airdate: April 11, 2013

Leslie decides to overhaul the animal control department, which turns out to be more difficult than anticipated. She nominates April to be the new director of the department. April suggests absorbing it into the parks department, and the city council passes the motion. Ben attempts to pitch perfume mogul Dennis Feinstein on donating to the Sweetums Foundation, but Feinstein is obnoxious and rude and refuses to donate. Ron gets sick and Ann insists he go to the doctor.

Episode 19
 “Article Two”
Original Airdate: April 18, 2013

Leslie proposes a motion to get rid of all the town’s antiquated laws, and a stubborn local citizen (Patton Oswalt) launches a filibuster to stop her. She makes a bet with him that whoever can live like the original town settlers in Pawnee’s historical house the longest will get their way, but when he proves freakishly resilient, she makes a new deal for him to drop the filibuster in exchange for membership in the local historical society. Chris forces April and Ron to take a management training seminar, and April pits Ron and Chris against each other. Ben and Ann compete to buy a waffle iron from JJ’s Diner for Leslie.

Episode 20
 “Jerry’s Retirement”
Original Airdate: April 18, 2013

It’s Jerry’s last day before his retirement, and Leslie tries to help him achieve his dreams before leaving City Hall, with underwhelming results. Chris and Ann feel nervous after being approved for their artificial insemination, and end up sleeping together. They’re uncertain but open-minded about the future of their romantic relationship. Tom tries to avoid becoming the new Jerry, the office laughingstock, once Jerry leaves. To help Tom out, Ron hires Jerry back part-time so he can still be the butt of office jokes one day a week.

Episode 21
 “Swing Vote”
Original Airdate: April 25, 2013

Ron cuts the budget for the public mini-golf course, and Leslie is determined to save it. Jamm is the swing vote on the city council, and he says that he will vote in favor of the winner of a mini-golf match between Leslie and Ron. Ron wins and the course is defunded, but Leslie immediately comes up with a new proposal to save it. Tom enlists Ann to help in his attempt to break up with Mona Lisa, but he can’t escape her. Andy discovers that his band has been playing without him, and after first rejecting them, he eventually rejoins.

Episode 22
 “Are You Better Off?”
Original Airdate: May 2, 2013

Leslie holds a town meeting to tout her accomplishments, but most town residents are angry with the bills she’s passed, and they start a movement to recall her from office. Andy finds a positive pregnancy test in the trash and tries to figure out who it belongs to. After eliminating April, Ann, Leslie, Donna and Mona Lisa, he discovers that Ron’s girlfriend Diane is the pregnant one. Tom gets an offer to sell Rent a Swag, and when he refuses, the lawyer for the mysterious buyer reveals that his client will be opening an identical store right across the street. April gets accepted to veterinary school in Bloomington.